English 9 Stumbaugh
Critical Lens Essay-Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Your Task:
Write a critical essay in which you discuss one work of literature you have
read from the particular perspective of the statement that is provided for
you in the “critical lens.” In your essay, provide a valid interpretation of the
statement, agree OR disagree with the statement as you have interpreted it,
and support your opinion using specific references to appropriate literary
elements from the literary work. You may use scrap paper to plan your
Critical Lens:
“In this world goodness is destined to be defeated.” –Walker Percy
“All literature shows us the power of emotion. It is emotion, not reason,
that motivates characters in literature.”
Provide a valid interpretation of the critical lens that clearly
establishes the criteria for analysis
Indicate whether you agree or disagree with the statement as you have
interpreted it.
Choose one work you have read that you believe best supports your
Use the criteria suggested by the critical lens to analyze the work you
have chosen.
For each example, do not summarize the plot but use specific
references to appropriate literary elements (for example, theme,
characterization, conflict, irony, point of view) to develop your analysis.
Organize your ideas in a unified and coherent manner.
Specify the titles and authors of the literature you choose.
Follow the conventions of standard written English.
Essay Structure
These are the necessary parts of an essay when writing about literature, especially.
Take your latest piece, and paragraph by paragraph, revise it according to this checklist.
I. Introduction
______ Broad, opening sentence
______ Introduce literary work(s) and author(s)
______ Introduce any main characters and background information on the literature
______ Thesis statement (what it is that you will be proving in your paper)
II. Body (one to two paragraphs, depending on the assignment)
______ Topic sentence that relates to the thesis statement
______ Specific details explained
______ Little to no plot summary
______ Direct quotations with page numbers (3).
______ Transition/ closing sentence to next paragraph
______ (If two body paragraphs, all of the above the second paragraph)
III. Conclusion
______ Restate thesis statement in different words
______ Mention literary works(s) and author(s) again
______ Restate main points from body paragraph(s) in one to two sentences
______ Closing sentence leaving readers with something to think about
General essay guidelines:
______ 3rd person point of view
______ present tense used when discussing literature
______ limited use of pronouns (not specific enough; too vague)